How female college students love decorating their homes

Emily Parodi hangs string lights in her room to bringten it up and give it character. Credit: Anna Ripken | Lantern Reporter

College is an exciting time. You get to make new memories and friends, explore a life without parental supervision and further your education by pursuing something that actually interests you. But more than that — starting with a dorm room and ending with an off-campus apartment or house — you get to become your very own interior designer.

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And while the ways we see college girls spicing up their living spaces tend to remain on the basic side, there’s something to be said for these decorating strategies that essentially make every room look better.

String lights

They are not just reserved for your Christmas tree. String lights add brightness to a room while also adding personality.

“As I walk around my sorority house, I see string lights hung in many of my sisters’ rooms,” Emily Parodi, a second-year in marketing, said. “I love the look of string lights because they make a room feel cozy.”

Table and floor lamps are, of course, always great options when a room clearly lacks windows and natural light, but why not also add string lights to the mix? The brighter, the better. Light coming from as many sources as possible is perfect for your photo session in front of your tapestry, which leads me to my next classic college female accessory.


Walking into a room with a completely blank wall is thrilling yet terrifying. You have that so-called blank canvas to work with, but that means figuring out just how many things to hang without making it look overcrowded with picture frames or posters — although, maybe we should reserve the use of posters for the boy version of a college house.

“My roommates and I live in a small townhouse,” Konni Lorenz, third-year in strategic communication, said. “We started the year with a bunch of random colored furniture — literally, green couch and orange chairs — but then we hung a tapestry with exactly those colors, strung some lights and added a ladder where we hang our blankets. It’s crazy how you can transform the old, dingy houses on campus to something really cute and homey.”

Tapestries offer a solution to overdecorating concerns, and they work perfectly for the birthday photo shoots you are destined to have (reminder: sashes and balloons are not included with purchase of giant wall fabric). Available in a variety of sizes and prints, tapestries can fill whatever space you need with whatever image or pattern you want.

To give some greenery to the house, people often buy succulents to make an apartment feel more at home. Credit: Anna Ripken | Lantern Reporter


Fake or real, pops of leafy green in your space add a natural, mature element of color and comfort. Even if you’re terrible at taking care of plants, real succulents don’t require much attention.

“I think succulents are so popular for college students to have in their rooms because they are easy to upkeep, as you don’t have to water them often,” Parodi said. “And, of course, they’re cute and trendy.”


Candles offer a great way to unwind and appreciate your cozy living area. Standard scents such as lavender and vanilla provide stress relief, while others can remind you of where you came from.

“I mainly see the brand Homesick Candles, since my friends are from out of state,” Parodi said.

Homesick Candles have scents that resemble different locations, such as Northern California, where Parodi is from.

“Every time I see it or smell it, it reminds me of home, and that is why I love this candle so much,” Parodi said.

Alexandra Aughenbaugh, a fourth-year in communication, said she has about six candles in her bedroom at her apartment.

“For me, the candles’ glow and scent makes it easier to study and focus when I’m doing homework,” Aughenbaugh said.

Wine glasses and coffee mugs

Wine and coffee are two college student necessities that deserve cute containers. I’m convinced coffee tastes better when I drink it out of my unicorn mug. And it is not enough to own just a couple of wine glasses or coffee mugs. You need variety, so you can take one off the shelf that complements your mood. For instance, my mug that says, “UGH” is perfect to sip from when I catch the Sunday scaries.

Throw pillows

Practical? Not completely. Aesthetically pleasing? Absolutely. Sure, they get tossed to the floor every night to make room for sleep, but during the day, having your bed made with all its decorative pillows in their respective places gives you a sense that your life is completely together, even if it’s not.

“I like using throw pillows because it helps make the space more like home,” Alyssa Lamb, a fourth-year in hospitality management, said.

In ways of other adornments, Aughenbaugh said she has several wood cut-out decorations: “One of them says, ‘Sunshine,’ which my mom and I picked out because of the song ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ I have an embroidered pillow that has the song, as well, which reminds me of my mom and of home.”


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